Eric Douglas Published

Panel Receives Public Input On Intermediate Court Of Appeals

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The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia held a two-hour meeting Friday of the Intermediate Court of Appeals Advisory Council to receive public comment on rules of practice and procedure related to the new court. The advisory council included all of the current members of the Supreme Court as well as attorneys, judges, and representatives from the other two branches of government.

Staff has been working on the rules and procedures for this court for the last year.

“The Supreme Court and our staff have been working diligently toward the implementation of the Intermediate Court of Appeals on July 1. There are many interconnected aspects of setting up a new level of courts,” said Chief Justice John Hutchison. “We are now ready to welcome public comment and insight.”

The Intermediate Court of Appeals will hear cases including:

  • Appeals from circuit courts in civil cases and those concerning guardianship or conservatorship.
  • Appeals from family courts, except for domestic violence proceedings.
  • Appeals from state agencies or administrative law judges.
  •  Appeals from decisions or orders issued by the Workers’ Compensation Office of Judges after June 30, 2022, until its termination, and from orders or decisions of the Workers’ Compensation Board of Review after June 30, 2022.

The new court will include a single, three-judge panel overseeing cases from across the state. It will begin work on July 1, 2022.
The judges will be:

  • Thomas E. Scarr of Huntington 
  • Daniel W. Greear of Charleston
  • Donald A. Nickerson Jr. of Wheeling

The justices will have staggered terms. Scarr’s term will end on Dec. 31, 2024, Greear’s term will end on Dec. 31, 2026 and Nickerson, Jr.’s term will end on Dec. 31, 2028.
“The creation of the Intermediate Court of Appeals involves a wide range of changes to our judicial system, and the Supreme Court, along with our dedicated staff members, have been working diligently since the Legislature created the court last year to make it successful,” Supreme Court Judge Tim Armstead said. “We are looking forward to the Intermediate Court beginning its work on July 1, and we will continue our preparation to ensure the court system is well-prepared for the Intermediate Court’s important work.”

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals still has the final say when it comes to appeals in the state. According to the legislation that created the court, passed by the West Virginia Legislature in 2021, a written opinion, order, or decision of the Intermediate Court of Appeals “is binding precedent for the decisions of all circuit courts, family courts, magistrate courts, and agencies unless the opinion, order, or decision is overruled or modified by the Supreme Court of Appeals.”

One of the three new justices will be selected as the chief judge for the Intermediate Court through a process set up by the state Supreme Court. The Clerk of the Supreme Court will also act as the Clerk of the Intermediate Court of Appeals. The Administrative Director of the Supreme Court of Appeals will also provide administrative support.

The Intermediate Court recently purchased a building to house the court and it will have a courtroom, but they have set up locations around the state for litigants to be able to have their appeals heard remotely.

Additionally, the Supreme Court announced that it has awarded a contract to provide e-filing for both appellate courts. This will eliminate the need for attorneys filing 10 paper copies of each appeal. This is expected to save money, and paper, as attorneys won’t have copying costs and delivery costs.

File & ServeXpress, LLC, of Irving, Texas, is developing an appellate e-filing system for the Supreme Court and the ICA.

“We work every day to serve our courts and filers and bring automation and efficiency to the adjudication process with our technology,” said Tammy Carter, CEO of File & ServeXpress. “We are very excited to expand our relationship with the West Virginia courts after supporting the judges and filers involved in the Mass Tort Litigation cases over the last 14 years.”

E-filing will be mandatory for members of the West Virginia State Bar, but non-attorney litigants may submit paper filings to the Clerk of Court, who will serve as the Clerk for both the Supreme Court and the ICA.